Best of 2017 Photo Contest

Every month jpeg2RAW holds a themed Photo Challenge, except for December.  In December, we hold a Best of the Year Photo Contest.  In this Best of 2017 episode, Mike and Tim review each of the finalist and to announce the winner entry, plus give away a few other prizes.

Best of 2017 Photo Contest

 Judges:

Andy Wheeler
Andy WheelerAbandonscape Photographer
I am a New York based photographer specializing in landscape and a style I call “abandonscape” photography. The best place to see my work is here my website. I also sell limited editions of my work on metal at art festivals and galleries up and down the east coast. If you are interested in carrying my works in your shop or gallery, please contact me. I also host workshops and photowalks to help other photographers learn more about their art.
Janice Sullivan
Janice SullivanFine Art Photographer
Janice Sullivan is a Fine Art Photographer specializing in Macro & Landscape Photography. She graduated from the University of La Verne with a BA in Art, emphasis in Photography. When she isn’t taking pictures, she is mentoring other photographers and making photography videos to help others feel comfortable with their camera. She loves to hike and camp with her husband and share’s the fun on her blog to inspire others to get out and photograph.
Scott Norris
Scott Norris Photographer, freelance animator and motion graphic designer.
Much of what I shoot is done spontaneously. What surrounds me dictates what is photographed.

And shooting is only the first step – a jumping off point. I take the raw images and create what I see in my mind’s eye. Coaxing out textures in the shot – sometimes adding them. Enhancing the contrast of light and dark to create the mood and emotions I felt and feel. In the end, it’s all about listening to my heart and mind, and creating a visual representation of what I feel the moment the shutter is released.

I’m a native Texan currently living on Milwaukee’s East Side with my wife and son.

I use Nikon cameras and lenses, Induro tripods and Lowpro camera bags. For post-processing, I use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom and plugins from Google Nik Effects, OnOne, and Topaz Labs.

Marry Presson Roberts
Marry Presson RobertsFine Art Photographers
Mary Presson Roberts is a fine art photographer living and working in the Carolinas. Being located on the border of North and South Carolina has been a perfect location for exploring the wonders of the Carolinas.

In addition to photography, Ms. Roberts is an educator and published author in the field of education.

She received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC and her Master of Education from The Citadel, Charleston, SC.

Note:  judges listed below are NOT in the same order as above!

Winning Image:

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Bayarerdene Ulziisaikhan

Judge’s Feedback:

This image disturbs me. It is SO good, yet something about the look that the child has is out of place for me. Technically perfect. I scored this high but gave it a mid score on Impact/Emotion because I am so torn. I guess I am expecting an adult in the image and it is a child. Or I am expecting a playful, “I’m having fun” look, rather than “I am up to something” look. I don’t know exactly what it is about it..but I know that is what it is. This was one of my highest scoring images, congrats!

I love the pose (sassy!) and the lighting. The flash from behind really makes the snow pop – like diamonds in the sky. It seems to me that her eyes are just a bit soft, at least in the image I see here. Perhaps a bit of spot sharpening. You might try to brighten her face just a tad so it contrasts a little bit more with her white wrap. A camera setup more to your right would have moved the branch of the tree in the background out of frame – the overhanging branch competes for attention with her. Great job, this is such a wonderful shot!

Love your creative lighting and boy what a cutie!

It seems as if you have captured your daughter’s personality in this image. Wonderful idea and composition. I really like the lighting you used. The only recommendations I would have would be to try to sharpen her eyes a bit in post processing and perhaps clone in some lighter snow a the bottom of the image to cover the dark patch of snow. A wonderful image that is packed with personality!

2nd Place:

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Greg Croasdill

Judge’s Feedback:

Well, one of my favorite images since the first day I saw it. This is one of those moments that you are either super lucky to just happen upon or you live in an area where you can be there everyday to not miss it. I think this is a little of both. Part of me wishes that this was a landscape oriented shot, and part of me wouldn’t change a thing. I think in the end that is the only thing that kept me from giving it a perfect score. Congrats! Keep them coming!

You nailed the burning barn. I love the sky and the color – wow! The only nit picks I have are the red of the barn – it seems a bit hot and it competes with the sky. I think if you toned down the vibrancy/saturation, you’d get two things – a bit more detail in the wood and a better color contrast with the awesome sky. The barn seems to lean a bit to the left – and perhaps that is the way the barn actually is – but it makes the whole image feel like it is leaning to me. Overall, there seems to be a glow effect that softens everything a liltte, particularly in the red of the barn and the grass in front. I would try to back that off some. That said, I love this shot!

Wow! Just love the clouds! Love the way they sweep from the barn.

The colors in the image are amazing! I am sure this was such a special sight to witness. The composition is strong. Love that you included the plants in the foreground. This with the barn in the middle and the sky in the background provides great depth. I found that the texture applied to the image to be somewhat of a distraction. Overall, a fabulous burst of color and light!

Finalist:

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Gina Parry

Judge’s Feedback:

Wonderful image. Technically perfect. Beautiful light. Marks off for creativity here and a tiny bit for composition. Mainly because the infant is in between composition outlines. If you would crop this so that the infants head was in the upper left 3rd and the rear in the lower right 3rd you would have a stronger image. Or, moved the infants center to the right 3rd. But as it is, it is right in between those two and loses some strength because of that. I did not score this high on creativity as I thought some creative toning could have been applied rather than the “This is white, this is tan, etc”. With that said, that is just an opinion as there was no real goal given with the image. So you can take my suggestions with a grain of salt. Overall, one of my top scored images. Keep submitting amazing work!

Fantastic and “awww!” inspiring shot. The soft lighting is great. The overall warm tone is superb. Great contrast too from the fuzzy blanket, the white clothes, and the skin tones – you really know where to look here! The only nit-pick I have is I think the shot may be better with a bit of a tighter crop. Her face is angelic – let’s see more of it! Well done.

She’s beautiful and I really love how elegant she looks. Congrats!

Great job having the most important part of the image, her beautiful face, in sharp focus. You might consider cropping in even more from the right- hand side and the bottom to draw the viewer’s eye even more to her sweet face. This peaceful image is one you and your family will treasure!

Finalist:

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Amber Sallot

Judge’s Feedback:

Amber, excellent image for a beginning macro shooter! Now take it to the next level. I highly recommend watching Janice Sullivan when she is on Jpeg2Raw coming up. She can teach you about focus stacking and composition in scenes like this. If you go searching on the interwebs, you will see you are up against some pretty stiff competition. I have to score you on that basis. By no means is it a loss. I loved to watch your progression this past year or so. It has been a pleasure viewing your images and watching you grow as an artist! Keep it up!

Ooh scary! What a great shot. Close ups of insects and spiders are so fascinating. And I LOVE all of the water drops here – it really adds a lot. The narrow depth of field is really nice but I like to see a bit more of the spider’s head in focus The diagonal “pose” of the spider adds a lot of visual movement to the shot. You might try cropping a bit off of the left side (not too much!) to move the spider out of the center of the frame. Great job here.

Nice Macro especially since you were just starting! Love the creepy background it works nicely with the light spider. Your focus point is perfect…it’s all about the eyes 😉

I really like the contrast of light and dark here. You have lots of great detail in the head and legs closest to the viewer. I wonder what a different crop or composition in which the spider had more space to move into would look like. Your images does a great job of taking the viewer into the smaller world that is often overlooked by many!

Finalist:

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Darrell Harrington‎

Judge’s Feedback:

Nice Black and white landscape. Good mood but lacking a bit in composition. The elements are there but the photographer needs to experiment a bit more. Moving lower in the scene while keeping the tent in the lower left could have masked the highway (which is distracting in this scene) behind the tree line in the foreground. The story here is what though? Camping just outside of town? Doesn’t really make me want to visit. Camping with that view of the mountains, does. Use the strong elements in your photo’s story to make your composition. If your story WAS camping just outside of town, you nailed it. And that is okay too. Just some food for thought when the scene makes itself available again. Keep up the great work!

I really like the top half of the image with the mountains and the clouds. However, I don’t feel the bottom half is as interesting. Perhaps in color the tent would have popped more but as it is, the tent is lost. The bigger issue for me is the highway interchange right in the middle. I found myself going there before the mountains or the tent. I think if you just cropped out the bottom, you’d have a great panarama shot.

I love IR and miss shooting this style of work. I love your sky!

You have brought the viewer such wonderful details in this mountain scene. I am especially drawn to the mountains themselves and the gorgeous curves of the clouds. I like the inclusion of the tent to provide scale and a sense of isolation. Would you consider cropping up from the bottom a bit to eliminate that dark patch in the bottom left-hand corner? This would also bring you in closer to the tent. Overall, terrific scene that really works in black and white!

Finalist:

Click image for larger version

Gordon Rufh

Judge’s Feedback:

Love the intensity in the eyes. Always a challenge to capture these dogs in flight. And while the image is captured technically well, the moment I do not believe was. The low score here was the composition. The subject of the image is fighting with 2 foes here. One on each side. This fight between subject and background creates noise in our vision. You should avoid surrounding your subject with negative space unless the subject is perfectly symmetrical. Using negative space to balance and support your subject is what you should try to go for here. Background on the left, puppy on the right, or vice-versa. To take an image such as this to the next level, focus your technical skills with composition, and some situational awareness (placement of sensitive puppy parts). Round it off with some image cleanup such as the grass stuck to the frisbee and you will have an award winning image. Don’t be afraid to spend several sessions and 1000’s of shutter clicks on this same subject. You are good at it, time to get great.

Great capture. This image makes me smile! I love the way Porter is focused on the frisbee. Nice separation from the background too. I wish the dog and frisbee were not so vertical here. A bit more from the side or if the frisbee had been more camera left would have given some left to right movement to the shot. Very nice shot!

Nice that you captured the dog in flight! Eyes are nice and sharp too!

Great job capturing this moment! Love the different colors of the dog’s eyes. The background blur allows the viewer to direct his/her attention to the main subject. I think, although a centered composition is typically something to avoid, it works well with this image. Great job capturing a fun moment in time!

All images submitted to the Best of 2017 Photo Contest:

All images submitted to the Best of 2017 Photo Contest – Beginner’s Group:

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